The Vatican said that Pope Francis is getting care at a hospital in Rome for a respiratory infection that will take a few days to heal. Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said in a statement on Wednesday that the pope has been having trouble breathing for the past few days. Bruni said earlier in the day that Francis was sent to Rome’s Agostino Gemelli University Hospital “for some previously scheduled checkups.” The exams showed that the 86-year-old pope has a respiratory infection that will need “a few days of appropriate hospital medical treatment,” according to Bruni’s statement. COVID-19 has been ruled out by hospital tests.
Bruni said, “Pope Francis is moved by the many messages he has received and thanks everyone for their closeness and prayers.”
Before being taken to Gemelli, the pope led the weekly general audience on Wednesday morning in St. Peter’s Square. The Associated Press (AP) said that he “seemed to be in pretty good shape” during the visit, but that he “grimaced a lot” when he got into and out of the “popemobile.”
Francis is expected to take part in a number of events over the next few weeks. The first of these is Palm Sunday Mass this weekend, which kicks off the Easter season. The AP said that the pope has canceled all meetings with the public through Friday. It’s not clear if he will also cancel plans for Holy Week.
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Pope Francis Illness: Health Since Leading The Church
Francis hasn’t been in the hospital since July 2021, when he had surgery to fix diverticular stenosis, a problem in the colon that can cause pain, nausea, and fever when it gets infected. He was admitted to the hospital for the first time on Wednesday. The AP said that the pope had surgery for 10 days and had half of his colon taken out. Francis has been in charge of the Catholic Church for a decade.
Checkout the tweet related to it:
Pope Francis will be hospitalized for several days with a lung infection https://t.co/LDYe3k8fxy
— TIME (@TIME) March 29, 2023
AP says that when he was young, the pope had to have one of his lungs taken out because he had a lung infection. Francis has also been seen using a wheelchair because his knees hurt in the past few months. The New York Times says that Francis has said more than once that he would step down if his health ever made it impossible for him to run the church.
In 2021, after he had surgery on his intestines, the pope said that, even though he was sick, he had never thought about leaving his job. Francis has been traveling even though he has been sick recently. In February, he went to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. This was the first papal visit to the Congo since 1985 and the first to South Sudan since it became independent in 2011.